WWF protects mangroves to reduce climate change.


Mangroves have an incredible ability to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and burry it in the muddy soil below the water. With these important ecosystem services in mind, WWF works on mangrove restoration and conservation, implementing a "Mangroves for Communities and Climate" initiative, active in Mexico, Madagascar, Fiji, and Colombia. This initiative is part of a bigger effort, together with other non-profit organizations, to raise awareness and protect mangroves elsewhere. The project also fits into the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 call for action. 

Mangroves are ecosystems that fringe the coastlines in tropical and subtropical regions. In the above countries, WWF wants to safeguard 2 billion tonnes of carbon and support 300,000 people that live near mangroves. Sustainable management of mangroves is a good example of a nature-based solutions to climate change. 

Let's look at all the good things mangroves do: 

  • Waterlogged mangrove soils are up to four times more efficient in storing carbon than soils below tropical forests on land. Under the water, dead plant material is burried in the mud, and it does not rot because the underwater environment is depleted from oxygen. Therefore, there is no oxidation and hence no release of CO2 to the atmosphere. Instead, the carbon in the dead tissue is burried and locked away. 
  • Mangroves are biodiversity hotspots home to many unusual species including trees, specialized to survive in salty seawater and resistant to flooding and drought, and to strong fluctuations of water and salt. Many plants, animals en microorganisms survive here, where others would not last long. 
  • The very strong and deep root systems protect coastlines and the cities and land behind it, from tropical storms and hurricanes. 
  • Mangroves act as sponges and protect coastal areas from flooding. 
  • Mangroves are a birth and nursery place of many aquatic animals and shelter for many young creatures. 
  • If well managed, mangroves provide food for humans, as it is a breeding ground for many fish and shellfish. 
  • When sustainably managed, mangroves are a source of income for local communities, for example in offshore fishing and mangrove and reef tourism.  

Check out the state of mangroves per country through this interactive map:

Article by Kathelijne Bonne, geologist and soil scientist.

Good Climate News is an initiative by the Bonne sisters from Belgium, Elisabeth, Helena and Kathelijne. "We believe in the power of good news".

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